It’s too soon to relax COVID-19 restrictions, say experts

States across the U.S. are easing COVID-19 restrictions. But experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health say that the rollbacks are happening too soon, noting that recent declines in the number of new COVID-19 cases are slowing.

“We are currently at levels of cases that are still above the highest level of our last surge, so we haven’t even come down below the surge last summer,” said Atul Gawande, professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, surgeon, and Ariadne Labs founder and chair, in a March 1, 2021, CNBC article. “We continue to have 2,000 deaths a day, so this is not the level that we’re in a good shape to just plateau at, we’ve got to push further downward.”

In a March 2 interview on GBH, William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology, warned against relaxing COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts. He said that cases of the virus are likely to resurge in the state as a result of the Baker administration’s decision to ease capacity limits at businesses. “Once we start giving the virus more opportunities to transmit, it’s going to take them,” he said.

Watch or read the CNBC article: Surgeon opposes relaxing of Covid restrictions: ‘We haven’t even come down below the surge last summer’

Listen to or read the GBH article: Looser Restrictions Will Drive Up Coronavirus Cases In Mass., Local Epidemiologist Says